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Ezekiel 19:1-9

Context
Lament for the Princes of Israel

19:1 “And you, sing 1  a lament for the princes of Israel, 19:2 and say:

“‘What a lioness was your mother among the lions!

She lay among young lions; 2  she reared her cubs.

19:3 She reared one of her cubs; he became a young lion.

He learned to tear prey; he devoured people. 3 

19:4 The nations heard about him; he was trapped in their pit.

They brought him with hooks to the land of Egypt. 4 

19:5 “‘When she realized that she waited in vain, her hope was lost.

She took another of her cubs 5  and made him a young lion.

19:6 He walked about among the lions; he became a young lion.

He learned to tear prey; he devoured people.

19:7 He broke down 6  their strongholds 7  and devastated their cities.

The land and everything in it was frightened at the sound of his roaring.

19:8 The nations – the surrounding regions – attacked him.

They threw their net over him; he was caught in their pit.

19:9 They put him in a collar with hooks; 8 

they brought him to the king of Babylon;

they brought him to prison 9 

so that his voice would not be heard

any longer on the mountains of Israel.

1 tn Heb “lift up.”

2 sn Lions probably refer to Judahite royalty and/or nobility. The lioness appears to symbolize the Davidic dynasty, though some see the referent as Hamutal, the wife of Josiah and mother of Jehoahaz and Zedekiah. Gen 49:9 seems to be the background for Judah being compared to lions.

3 tn Heb “a man.”

4 sn The description applies to king Jehoahaz (2 Kgs 23:31-34; Jer 22:10-12).

5 sn The identity of this second lion is unclear; the referent is probably Jehoiakim or Zedekiah. If the lioness is Hamutal, then Zedekiah is the lion described here.

6 tc The Hebrew text reads “knew,” but is apparently the result of a ר-ד (dalet-resh) confusion. For a defense of the emendation, see L. C. Allen, Ezekiel (WBC), 1:284. However, Allen retains the reading “widows” as the object of the verb, which he understands in the sense of “do harm to,” and translates the line: “He did harm to women by making them widows” (p. 282). The line also appears to be lacking a beat for the meter of the poem.

7 tc The Hebrew text reads “widows” instead of “strongholds,” apparently due to a confusion of ר (resh) and ל (lamed). L. C. Allen (Ezekiel [WBC], 1:284) favors the traditional text, understanding “widows” in the sense of “women made widows.” D. I. Block, (Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:602) also defends the Hebrew text, arguing that the image is that of a dominant male lion who takes over the pride and by copulating with the females lays claim to his predecessor’s “widows.”

8 tn Or “They put him in a neck stock with hooks.” The noun סּוּגַר (sugar), translated “collar,” occurs only here in the Bible. L. C. Allen and D. I. Block point out a Babylonian cognate that refers to a device for transporting prisoners of war that held them by their necks (D. I. Block, Ezekiel [NICOT], 1:597, n. 35; L. C. Allen, Ezekiel [WBC], 1:284). Based on the Hebrew root, the traditional rendering had been “cage” (cf. ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

9 tc The term in the MT occurs only here and in Eccl 9:12 where it refers to a net for catching fish. The LXX translates this as “prison,” which assumes a confusion of dalet and resh took place in the MT.



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